The 50,000 objects in the textile collections fall into two main categories: raw fibers, yarns, and fabrics, and machines, tools, and other textile technology. Shawls, coverlets, samplers, laces, linens, synthetics, and other fabrics are part of the first group, along with the 400 quilts in the National Quilt Collection. Some of the Museum's most popular artifacts, such as the Star-Spangled Banner and the gowns of the first ladies, have an obvious textile connection.
The machinery and tools include spinning wheels, sewing machines, thimbles, needlework tools, looms, and an invention that changed the course of American agriculture and society. A model of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, made by the inventor in the early 1800s, shows the workings of a machine that helped make cotton plantations profitable in the South and encouraged the spread of slavery.
"Textiles - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Eve Van Cortlandt's fine white linen quilted counterpane is one of the earliest dated American quilts in existence. The date, "1760" and her initials, "E V C," are embroidered in blue silk cross-stitch on the quilt lining. Quilted with white linen thread, a delicate pattern of flowers, feathery stems, and low open baskets surround a central quatrefoil medallion. The design is set off by a background of quilted parallel lines just one-eighth inch apart.
- Eve was born on May 22, 1736, to Frederick Van Cortlandt and Francena Jay each from families of wealthy and prominent New York landowners. She made her quilt for her dower chest while living in the family home. In 1761, Eve married the Honorable Henry White, a businessman and a member of the King’s Council of the Royal Colony of New York. He became president of the New York Chamber of Commerce in 1772 and remained loyal to the King of England during the Revolution.
- When the British evacuated New York in 1783, Henry moved his family to England. Henry White died in London in 1786, and Eve returned to America as a widow, most likely to be near two of her children who lived in New York. Of their five children, two sons were in the British service and remained in London, as did one daughter. Eve died in 1836 at the age of one hundred, having witnessed a century of historic events. Since 1897, the family home in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx has been a museum.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- Van Cortlandt, Eve
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center